Moving from New York to Pennsylvania? Consider Carbon County, Pennsylvania’s secret Vacation Retreat

My Story:

Mark Shay, Palmerton PA

In 2006 I sold an internet marketing company and with some cash in my pocket I decided to invest in a vacation home near Blue Mountain Ski Resort.  At the time, I had a house in Delaware County, outside Philadelphia and I wanted a “mountain house” that I could get to in 90 minutes.  That ruled out the many vacation home communities like Arrowhead Lake, Big Bass Lake or Lake Naomi that are near the Mount Pocono turnpike exit, plus I really didn’t want a gated community.  Sticking to places close to the Jim Thorpe (Mahoning Valley) exit put me in Carbon County, a place that was known as nice for a day trip, but not for vacation homes.

I ended up purchasing a 47-acre piece of land just 2 miles from the Valley Lodge of Blue Mountain Ski Resort.  The land was part of Stony Ridge, a stretch of mountainside that had mines operating in the early 1900’s and now had a mix of industrial sites and older homes.  Some said I had vision, others said I was nuts, but with now with 47 acres, I had endless weekend projects and a vision for my mountain house. 

2110 Little Gap Road, Palmerton PA

The realtor who sold us the property suggested a company that installed manufactured homes.  They were great, they took care of getting permits, subcontracting the water and septic systems and the getting the 650-foot driveway.  Rather than put the house along the road, we took put the house high up on the ridge to take advantage of the epic view.  With binoculars, we can see Blue Mountain with the Appalachian trail at the top, stretching from the Ski Resort to the east out to the Lehigh River Gap to the west.  Along the way, we accumulated a few ATV’s, dirt bikes and a golf cart.  We learned that you can grow a lawn anywhere if you use mushroom soil, that white pines will grow anywhere, even in the harshest conditions and falling off an ATV can be kinda funny. 

Blue Mountain Private Campsite aka my yard

The kids grew up, my career took a few detours and we ended up moving from Delaware County and living in Palmerton full time.  In 2017 we got a postcard in the mail from a company that wanted us to consider letting campers use our land.  After a little work, we turned half our property into a campsite and listed it on and what a hit that was.  Our Blue Mountain Private Campsite has been a steady source of income and has helped us share our land with families and small groups ever since.  Two years later we decided to try renting the house and the other half of the land to those looking to ski at Blue Mountain Ski Resort.  Like the campsite, our Blue Mountain Vacation Home took off and has been so popular, we barely get to use it.  Our “mountain house” was now an income property and being the capitalist that I am, I want more.  I am now on the lookout for investment properties to turn into a vacation rentals and more private campsites.

Carbon County is a wonderful place to vacation.  Hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, tubing, skiing, airplane gliders, paragliding and hang gliding.  There is a full slate of activities year-round at Blue Mountain Ski Resort, boat rentals at Beltzville Lake State Park, several river outfitters for the Lehigh River, a steam engine tourist railroad, an old coal mine tour, Skirmish, home to some of the world’s largest paintball events, the Appalachian Trail, the D&L Bike and Walking Trail and even the Blue Mountain Flying Club  if you just want to jump off a mountain (the recommend parachutes).  Who says there’s nothing to do!

Carbon County Real Estate was recently was featured in Allentown’s Morning Call Newspaper with an article titled “How Carbon County quietly became a Real Estate Jewel”  Carbon County lies just north of the Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton) and as the article states, a suburban sprawl is coming from this area which is the third largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania.  Carbon County has nice homes, but make no mistake, Carbon County is small and quiet.  The entire county has only 65,000 residents in places like the quaint county seat of Jim Thorpe (Mauch Chunk before there was football), Lehighton (the largest town) and Palmerton.  Scattered throughout the county are some nice small towns, some founded in the county’s early days as coal country. 

Those that grew up in Carbon County don’t think of it as a vacation area, but those of us who came later do.  If you drive north on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-476) you’ll know you hit Carbon County when you go through the Lehigh Tunnel which cuts through Blue Mountain.  Just on the other side you’ll see a sign that says: “Welcome to the Pocono Mountains” and a minute later you’ll pass over the Lehigh River where you might seek rafting and tubing as you pass over.  You can exit immediately after that to the heart of Carbon County (Exit 74) or get off at the new E-ZPass-only exit onto Route 903 and the nearby Pocono Raceway.  If you are coming from the East, the entry into the county is more gradual as Carbon County lies about twenty miles off both I-78 and I-80.

My love of the area keeps growing and recently I got a Realtor salesperson license and am now helping others find their vacation getaway in Carbon County.  Whether they want a vacation home, or you are looking to move away from grind of urban life, or maybe you want a vacation investment property, I can help.   Contact me at or visit us online for Carbon County Real Estate. or Monroe County Real Estate

Think I’m nuts, watch this video and see what the Flying Club does, you can watch from our deck!

The post Moving from New York to Pennsylvania? Consider Carbon County, Pennsylvania’s secret Vacation Retreat appeared first on Pocono Vacation Home Sales & Short-term Rental.

July 03, 2023

Some communities are more friendly to VRBO and Airbnb, others oppose the practice.  Here is an summary drawn from various HOAs (Home Owner Associations) and township regulations. Last Updated: June, 2024 ARROWHEAD LAKE (Coolbaugh Township and Tobyhanna Township, PA) As one of the area’s most recognized vacation home communities, Arrowhead Lake has a rich traditionContinue reading "Short-term Rental Friendly Pocono Communities"

The post Short-term Rental Friendly Pocono Communities appeared first on Pocono Vacation Home Sales & Short-term Rental.

March 01, 2022

Zoning, Rules and Regulations regarding Short-term Rentals, VRBO and AirBnB are changing in the Poconos, here is a scorecard of municipalities and what they say about running a short-term rental from your vacation home or income property.

The post STR Municipal Scorecard: Rules on Short-term Rentals in Boroughs and Townships in Poconos appeared first on Pocono Vacation Home Sales & Short-term Rental.